There is hardly a soul who would stand up to make a case for poor health or the joys of feeling terrible, yet eight out of ten of us live our lives as if we’re afraid good health might sneak up on us and do us in. Look around any office, look at a random sampling of shoppers in a supermarket, and you will see paunchy, pallid, tired-looking people who probably eat the wrong food, drink and smoke too much, exercise rarely and, while not ill, are not well either. They drift into that miasma of stimulants, sedatives, snack foods, nicotine, late nights and slow wits that dulls the texture of each day; the victim never notices that his body and mind are working at half speed while his daily routine carries him along at an ever more frenetic pace.
The rise of set, intentionally-constructed obstacle courses would largely have to wait until the 19th century. In Europe, this period saw a significant upswing of interest in physical fitness, which rose in tandem with feelings of nationalism that were surging in the continent’s respective countries. Frequent wars had shown nations like France, Britain, and Germany the necessity of keeping their peoples in fighting shape. Various schools of thought developed as to how best to do that, but most focused on gymnastics and functional exercises: running, calisthenics, jumping, climbing ropes, and using equipment like rings, the pommel horse, and parallel bars.
You’ll sometimes hear these days that 30 is the new 20, and the importance of moving towards career, relationship, and finance goals in your twenties gets overlooked.
When it comes to the latter category, it may seem like getting your financial house in order is something you can work on once you settle down and start your “real life.” After all, it may not seem like you have many assets to manage; you may be just out of college, still in debt, and not making much money at your first job. But even so, there are steps you can start taking now that will lay a good foundation for building wealth and security as you get older.
Every man is different, so naturally everyone is going to have different financial goals. But if you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed about money, it’s sometimes helpful to see suggestions for milestones to hit at certain points in your life. You can then take those broad suggestions and refine them so they fit your personal circumstances.
But slouching has other pernicious effects besides slowing your squat gains. According to Dr. Jason Quieros, a chiropractor at Stamford Sports and Spine in Connecticut, “every inch you hold your head forward [while slouching] you add 10 pounds of pressure on your spine.” If you’re like most chronic desk slouchers, you’re likely leaning your head towards your monitor by 2 or 3 inches. That’s 20 to 30 pounds of extra weight that your back and spinal column have to endure for extended periods of time.
In the short term, this can cause jaw aches and headaches, but in the long term it can result in kyphosis, or a permanently visible Quasimodo-esque hump on your upper back. Kyphosis isn’t just an aesthetic problem, either. It can cause pain due to excess strain on the spine, as well as breathing difficulties due to pressure on the lungs from the caved-in chest that comes with a rounded back.
Have you ever wanted something really, really bad, but when you finally got it, you were left feeling kind of disappointed?
Maybe you thought changing jobs would make you happy, but it didn’t.
Or you thought you’d like living in another state, but ended up regretting the move.
Perhaps you sunk a bunch of money into a new hobby you were sure you’d love, only to abandon it after just a few outings.
Why do we experience these mismatches between what we think something will be like and the reality of it?
As I wrote this piece, I kept stopping to contemplate, “what makes for a long term, long distance friendship between men?” Well, for starters, there are quite a few similarities to what makes for any strong relationship, romantic or platonic: common interests and values, mutual respect, consideration, and an appreciation for the other person, differences as well as similarities. Yet it’s easy for distance, family responsibilities, nearby acquaintances, PTA meetings, weekend chores, work, and even money to deteriorate a once solid bond. But anything worthwhile takes a little effort, a realigning of priorities. To me, having a best friend and spending time with him is well worth any perceived, transient inconvenience. I’d like to think, and am thankful, that Mike feels the same way.
So heed my advice, men of all ages who are not yet millionaires and wish they were. Your truck may be the biggest obstacle in your way.
The size of your truck is inversely proportional to the size of your wallet. Which one of the two would you rather supersize?
* I speak mostly to men in this article, because they are the primary victims of the pickup truck racket. But women are not immune – they just tend to fall into the “SUV and Minivan” trap more often.
Did you ever read that classic book when you were a kid — Paddle-to-the-Sea? A young boy carves a wooden canoe and tosses it into a stream. The big question is where will it go? What will it do?
Giving away money is like that. No matter how old we are, there’s something cool about that feeling — releasing something small into the great unknown. We will never fully know all the good that can happen when we give money away.
What will your contribution do? Whose life will it touch for good? What will that person do in turn to impact someone else’s life for better?
Note that I’m not advocating giving money away blindly. Indeed, it’s helpful and prudent to research whatever organization you give to.
“When are you guys going to have kids?”
This seems like a common, fairly innocuous question. Except when the couple you level your query at has been trying to have kids without success. Then your friendly question just becomes another shake of salt on the wound. And there’s no good response for the couple to give in this situation, as they probably don’t want to share details of their fertility problems with you. Or perhaps they haven’t decided if they want kids at all, or one partner does and one doesn’t, in which case you’re inviting further tension into the conversation.
A better question: None — don’t ask. If they want to tell you about their plan for producing progeny, they will.
Another way this works is to find at least one thing about that coworker you do like and focus on that rather than the traits that annoy you. Maybe they’re into dogs and you can brag about your pooch to them, or they enjoy craft beer like you do so you can talk about your favorite local watering hole. Find ways to center your conversation on these topics, and perhaps what you disliked about that person will be lessened.